The Jammu and Kashmir administration on Saturday extended the detention of National Conference (NC) chief and three-time chief minister of the erstwhile state of Jammu and Kashmir Farooq Abdullah by three months, news agency PTI reported quoting officials.
The decision to extend the Srinagar MP’s detention, officials said, was recommended by the advisory board of the Home Department of the Union Territory of J&K under the Public Safety Act (PSA). Abdullah will continue to remain at his residence that has been declared a sub-jail.
Reacting to the development, the National Conference termed the extension of detention “most unfortunate” and “undemocratic”. “It is the most unfortunate thing to happen. The imposition of PSA on Abdullah is itself a major setback to the mainstream politics of Jammu and Kashmir because he has always stood by the nation and its values,” PTI quoted NC provincial president Devender Singh Rana as saying. He said the action is “undemocratic”
Abdullah, along with former CMs Omar Abdullah and PDP chief Mehbooba Mufti, has been placed under detention since August 4, a day before the Centre abrogated Article 370 of the Constitution and bifurcated Jammu and Kashmir into union territories.
On September 17, the stringent PSA was first slapped against Abdullah, hours before the Supreme Court was to hear a petition by MDMK leader Vaiko, who claimed that the NC leader was detained illegally. “He has been booked under the ‘public order’ provision of the PSA which allows that a person can be kept inside jail from three to six months without a trial, the officials said, according to PTI.
On November 19, the Opposition had targeted the government over the detention of Abdullah, calling it illegal and demanding that he be allowed to attend House proceedings. Earlier this month, the National Conference had demanded the release of all political leaders immediately. Senior Congress leader and Thiruvananthapuram MP Shashi Tharoor had said that he received a letter from Farooq in which he wrote that “keeping him in sub-jail is not the way how a senior member of Parliament be treated and that they are not criminals”.
However, Union Home Minister Amit Shah on December 11 said that the Centre had no desire to keep politicians from Kashmir behind bars unless there was a requirement. He said the decision on their release would be taken by the local administration as his government does not interfere in the affairs of states and Union Territories.